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A mobile solar powered chilling system, a multi-crop thresher and a low-cost grain moisture tester have won the regional finals of the 2019 ASME Innovation Showcase which was held last week in Nairobi.
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) announced in a statement yesterday (9 May) that three social entrepreneurs — one from Kenya and two from Ghana — were selected from eight African finalists for a share of $30 000 in seed grants.
In addition to the seed grants, each of the winners will receive a ticket to October’s iShow Bootcamp in New York, where they will meet six other regional winners of competition held in Bengaluru, India and Washington DC.
The 2019 ASME Innovation Showcase Nairobi regional finals grand prize winners are Savanna Circuit Tech, SayeTech and Sesi Technologies
The winners from the Nairobi regional finals, which were held last Thursday (9 May) all had solutions that address the challenge of sustainable food supply. They are:
Savanna Circuit Tech’s MaziwaPlus Pre-Chiller (Kapenguria, Kenya) is a mobile solar-powered chilling in-transit system that can be mounted on motorbikes, offering quality control, traceability, and maximised profits for dairy producers and co-operatives. The solution was developed in response to milk post-harvest losses due to transportation over great distances in rural Kenya.
SayeTech Multi-crop Thresher (Kumasi, Ghana) produces multi-crop threshers that help reduce grain waste. The company claims its multi-crop thresher can reduce post-harvest losses by up to 30%, while also increasing income of smallholder farmers by up to 50% every year.
Sesi Technologies’ GrainMate Grain Moisture Meter (Kumasi, Ghana) is a low-cost grain moisture tester that helps grain farmers reduce post-harvest losses by making it easier to accurately measure grain moisture content before storage. At $100, the GrainMate is more than four times cheaper than conventional grain moisture meters and Sesi Technologies claims it offers superior accuracy.
Solar Freeze received special recognition and an in-kind prize of 20 hours of design support from Catapult Design for its portable solar-powered cold storage innovation. The innovation aims to alleviate the significant challenge of post-harvest food loss for farmers of perishable agricultural produce in Kenya.
Sesi Technologies was also declared a “fan favourite” and awarded a $1000 cash prize after it received the most votes cast via social media.
At the event, each of the eight regional finalists had to present their prototypes and outline their plans for manufacturing, marketing and financing.
The top three were selected by a panel of judges that was comprised of entrepreneurs, academics and founders of startup companies. ASME said the judges were “most impressed” by the winners’ design innovations and their abilities to scale their products to market.
Commenting in the same statement, ASME CEO and executive director Tom Costabile said ASME is continually impressed by the creative talent of ASME iShow participants and their passion for helping under-served communities around the world.
“ASME congratulates and thanks all iShow winners and finalists for serving as catalysts of progress and social good.
“Through their determination to innovate and disrupt the status quo, they are helping to improve the quality of life for people in need and inspiring others to think about what’s possible,” added Costabile.
Featured image, left to right: ASME senior programme manager James Creel, Sesi Technologies’ Peter O’Hara Adu and Isaac Senu Sesi receive an ASME iShow 3D-printed trophy from Villgro Kenya CEO and co-founder Robert Karanja (Supplied)